During my last semester of college, I developed sort of a reliance on Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M’s. They were portable, did not require refrigeration and gave me just enough of a blood sugar spike to fuel my over-worked brain so I could continue to memorize biochemistry mechanisms. Yes, we had to push all of the arrows. By May, I was going through a bag of M&M’s much faster than I’d care to admit to you. With my semester coming to an end, I decided I should try and find a more nutritious replacement for my M&M habit. If you know anything about me, I loosely follow an 80/20 eating principle, so weekly treats are A-Okay. Actually, they are encouraged.
Enter these Tart Cherry and Dark Chocolate Chewy Oatmeal Cookies. A mouthful, I know. Chewy, crispy, plus tart cherries combined with rich dark chocolate. What more could you possibly want in a cookie?!
Did you know that cherries are a natural source of melatonin? Melatonin is a hormone involved in sleep regulation and circadian rhythms. Cherries are also full of antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, a quarter-cup of dried fruit is equivalent to one serving of fruit. A little bit of fruit and anti-inflammatory properties, something my M&M’s were definitely lacking.
Dried cherries can be on the pricier side but they are 100% worth it in this recipe. The dough may initially seem like it does not want to fully incorporate, but when you add the dried cherries it increases the moisture content leading to a perfectly blended cookie dough. The cookies will spread out rather thin making them susceptible to over-browning. Be sure to keep a close eye on these cookies! Also, if you are using a dark pan be sure to reduce the cooking temperature by 25F.
My first attempt at finding a more nutritious substitute for my M&M habit was a success. Plus, it leaves my house with the aroma of toasted oats and fresh baked cookies, and that makes this little rent house feel more like a home.
- • ⅓ cup All-Purpose Flour
- • ⅓ cup White Whole-Wheat Flour
- • 1 ½ cups Old-Fashioned Oats
- • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- • ¼ teaspoon salt
- • 6 tablespoons unsalted Butter
- • ¾ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
- • 1 cup Dried Tart Cherries, coarsely chopped
- • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- • 1 large Egg
- • ½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips
- • Cooking Spray
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Carefully measure flour into mixing bowl. Add oats, baking soda and salt; whisk to combine.
- Melt butter in microwave or in small saucepan over low-heat. Remove from heat; add brown sugar and stir until smooth. Add butter mixture to flour mixture. Beat with electric mixer until well combined.
- Add cherries, vanilla and egg. Mix until incorporated and dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown.
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Thanks for stopping by!
Ferretti G, Bacchetti T, Belleia A, Neri D. Cherry Antioxidants: From Farm to Table. Molecules. 2010, 15, 6993-7005; doi:10.3390/molecules15106993